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Navy removes ship's command after boozy port visit

By Associated Press


SAN DIEGO >> The commander and top officers of a San Diego-based Navy frigate have been relieved of duty after a rowdy, booze-fueled port visit to Vladivostok, Russia.

Cmdr. Joseph E. Darlak, skipper of the USS Vandegrift, was removed Friday by Capt. John L. Schultz after an investigation "due to loss of confidence after demonstrating poor leadership and failure to ensure the proper conduct of his wardroom officers" during the three-day September stop, the Navy said in a statement.

Executive officer Lt. Cmdr. Ivan A. Jimenez and the ship's chief engineer and operations officer were also relieved "for personal conduct involving use of alcohol and not adhering to established liberty policies," the statement said.

The names of the two lower-ranked officers were not released because their positions are not considered public under Navy policy, and Navy officials did not give specifics on the misbehavior of any of the officers.

In a post on the official Facebook page of the Navy's 7th Fleet, the commander celebrated the visit as it began on Sept. 20.

"We are pleased to have the opportunity to visit Vladivostok and experience all the city has to offer," Darlak said in the post. "Our sailors are especially looking forward to making new friends."

The officers were relieved during a port visit in Guam, and they'll be temporarily reassigned in San Diego pending more possible administrative actions, the Navy Times reported.

Darlak's ouster comes just over three months after he assumed command of the Vandegrift. He previously served as executive officer of the destroyer Stethem.

Capt. H. Thomas Workman, a deputy commander from the ship's squadron, has taken over the Vandegrift until it returns to San Diego at the end of its seven-month deployment later this month, the statement said, and the Navy emphasizes that the ship remains fully ready for any mission.

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Bdpapa wrote:
Too bad they went overboard. Looking forward to liberty ports is a big part of being in the Navy.
on November 3,2012 | 03:36PM
Ronin006 wrote:
Too bad they did not go "overboard." They might have been better off professionally, had they done so.
on November 3,2012 | 04:51PM
sailfish1 wrote:
Everywhere there are U.S. military bases and wherever the U.S. Navy's ships stop, there are tons of bars, bargirls, prostitutes, and other "shady" activities. Of course the military wouldn't admit to partaking in the pleasures, but they do.
on November 3,2012 | 07:45PM
Bdpapa wrote:
I di and don't regret it!
on November 4,2012 | 06:18AM
marine38 wrote:
NOT career enhancing! Time to work on the resume. Would like to hear "the rest of the story."
on November 3,2012 | 07:45PM
cojef wrote:
End of career for this commander. There is no room for the lack of discipline in the military. Only the cream rises to the top. Sometimes a misfit makes it but it won't last long as indicated by this story line.
on November 4,2012 | 05:57AM
mrluke wrote:
This story line didn't tell us anything. In this new, politically correct Navy, serving as a commanding officer is like walking on eggshells.
on November 4,2012 | 07:28AM
Hurricane06 wrote:
Unfortunately in these politically correct and zero tolerance on anything era, you are correct that his career will soon end. But I would not call todays military leaders cream of the crop. Eisenhower, Patton, and most proven war leaders would not rise to the top in todays military. Please do not judge this Captain and crew based on this one article.
on November 4,2012 | 07:42AM
mrluke wrote:
I always wonder how our "old Navy" performed so well in wartime when it was filled with MEN who used alcohol and tobacco, swore a lot and chased women. Maybe because they were qualified at seamanship and combat and were respected for that.
on November 4,2012 | 10:20AM
Grimbold wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on November 4,2012 | 08:02AM
serious wrote:
This was Russia--home of the vodka tasting contests when you visit!! After months at sea they probably lost their alcohol tolerance. "Let the clean one cast the first stone!!!) Never happen--got to look in the mirror. I sometimes wonder how many candidates we would have if politicians had to take drug tests!!
on November 4,2012 | 09:31AM
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